Hegumen (ihumen). Title of the superior of a small monastery in the Eastern church (the superior of a large monastery is called an archimandrite). In the Russian Empire after the secularization of monastic properties in 1764, a hegumen was the superior of a monastery relegated to the so-called third class; first- and second-class monasteries were headed by archimandrites. The superior of a convent is called an ihumenia. In the Greek Catholic church the superior of all the monasteries in a given province is called a protoihumen. In Ukraine hegumens were influential during the Princely era and Cossack period, especially in the fields of literature and education. They participated in sobors, in the election of bishops, and occasionally in Cossack councils.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1989).]
Encyclopedia of Ukraine